Hidden Beauty

 

I think I told you that we’re working on a trail from our home to the creek below us. I’ve found that my job, has been to tidy the forest around the trail. Doesn’t that sound odd?  Why would you tidy a forest? For years, the forest and those in the home have tossed branches down the hillside. I did it myself last year when a windstorm blew branches all around the decks. I just tossed them over edge into the forest below us. That’s just fine, till someone gets the idea to make a trail down the hillside to the creek! Suddenly all those branches become visible and many need to be moved to clear space for the trail.

As I began to clear the branches, I realized that not only the narrow trail needed to be cleared, but I wanted the space around the trail to be open too. That’s when I began to tidy the forest. Others are working away sawing trees, digging out rocks, grading a path and building steps. I’m climbing over rocks tossing branches over the cliff-side. I started at the top area just below the house and have been making my way towards the creek.

The first few areas near the house were amazing. Simply removing the loose branches revealed a delightful forest garden right by our home. As I made my way down the hillside I found more treasures; a huge stump with ivy tumbling over it, a massive rock partly covered in moss, two more huge rocks with tree stumps tucked between them and a moss covered hillside that was flecked with starburst flowers. As the mess of odd branches was removed the beauty of the forest began to shine through. Next trail making day I’ll get out my clippers and tidy up the ferns. Underneath all that clutter there was and is a beautiful forest garden.

Isn’t that an image of life? What’s underneath the clutter of our activities, underneath the knot of old tapes in our minds, underneath the weight of ambitions and pressures? I know there is a beautiful forest garden within each of us. Too often our beauty is covered by a lot of clutter that we’ve accumulated or let others dump on us. But we are beautiful. Each person around you is beautiful. Can you see your own beauty? Can you see the beauty in the one beside you? What is the clutter that can be removed so you can behold the beauty within yourself and the one nearest you? God is always present, ready to help de-clutter.

May you use these days well.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

 

 

Holy Creek!

 

Just below our home is a creek. We live on a mountainside, so there is a steep hill of about a hundred yards down to the creek. But we can hear it! The snow is melting and it’s raining today so the creek is full and flowing well. I love standing near a creek, a brook or a river and watching it tumble over rocks. I love the movement. I’m told there is something healthy for us, something we humans breath into our physical nature through the flow of water. I’m not a scientist so I don’t know much about that, but I do know that I feel satisfied and refreshed when I pause near flowing water.

This week one of my readings reminded me of the continuous presence of God that flows through me. There is a constant flow of light, love, peace, joy, of all the nature of our omnipresent Creator. All of that is flowing through me. That feels so good to me. As I moved through my daily activities this week, I’ve been pausing to recall God’s flow through me. Just as my creek keeps flowing, so our Creator’s Nature of peace, joy, forgiveness keeps flowing through me. And you. As I slow down and recall that, I consciously open myself to that flow. Oh, that feels so good. And then I imagine the flow coming through you too. That feels good too.

I’m so grateful to live beside a creek. I’m so grateful for the flow of God’s Creek within me and within you. Come Holy Creek, flow freely today.

 

 

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Dare I Say It?

Dare I say it? I’m enjoying staying at home. I know it is a time of suffering and sadness. On many levels people are in pain, physically, emotionally, economically. So much has been turned upside down.  I do know that. And I know I’m not a single working mom who is having to look after her children and pay the bills. For many it’s a hugely painful time. Yet…

I’m also relieved to have the world slow down. I love stepping out on my porch at 7.00pm when our village starts it’s ‘Noisy Thank You’. One neighbour who can’t play the trumpet leads the way with a blast on his horn. Then all around the village you can hear the clamor. We’ve all been tucked away in our homes and come together for those few minutes of shared noise. Yes, we’re all still here and we all still care.

It seems to me that normally the world is too busy. I’ve known times in my life when my overwork took me to a place of overwhelm and exhaustion. I had to pull away from life and recoup. Are we experiencing a global nervous breakdown from our obsessive overworking/over achieving/over accumulating life style?

I like staying home. I’ve enjoyed finding my new rhythm. It’s still based in prayer/study/action. It just looks a little different. I’m not sure I want to give it up and return to all the driving and groups I normally attend. I like a quiet life.

I found this quote from Rumi: Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

A time of enforced quiet gives me time to ponder. What do I really want in my life? What do I, at this particular season, really need? And to listen deeply. It may feel strange.

Our shared experience of social distancing is really an Easter experience. We’re all being given the opportunity to die and then to rise again. We’re letting go of our jobs, securities, even our dreams. We’ve let go of old ways of behaving, old routines. Now we have a chance to begin something new, to allow new life to mature within us. What will we look like when we emerge from the experience of our current separation? What is silently drawing us from deep within our hearts?

I hope you’re able to find some goodness in these days, some kindness, some gratitude and carry some hope for what will emerge.  If you are one of the ones who is suffering during this time, I hope you can find someone to support you as you accept what is happening and make the changes that are right for you.

May you know the new life of Easter.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

In Unprecedented Times

 

There are always lessons to be learnt in life. I had begun to reflect on lessons from our shared virus experience, but I decided this morning to save those for another time. I found a poem that I would rather share with you. It’s by John O’Donoghue from ‘To Bless the Space Between Us’.

              This is the time to be slow,

              Lie low to the wall

              Until the bitter weather passes.

              Try, as best you can, not to let

              The wire brush of doubt

              Scrape from your heart

              All sense of yourself

              And your hesitant light.

              If you remain generous,

              Time will come good;

              And you will find your feet

              Again on fresh pastures of promise,

              Where the air will be kind

              And blushed with beginning.

Let us continue to cultivate faith, compassion and generosity within ourselves and towards each other as we move through these unprecedented times.

We’re all in this together. We are not alone. His eye is on the sparrow. How will we respond?

Love and prayers

Anne

If this is helpful to you, please share with others to broaden the contemplative pathway.

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Life is too Short!

The price of gas in the Vancouver area, during the year we’ve been here has varied between $1.35 to $1.60 per litre. It changes all the time. During the day I’ve seen it go up and down. One of our local supermarkets sometimes gives out $.05 off a litre. Well…. I fully admit that I like a bargain and gas, even after a year here still seems really expensive to me. It’s close to $80 to fill our car.

Last week I got one of those coupons and our car was nearly empty so I offered, when I was going to be in town, to get it filled with this precious bit of liquid gold. My husband had warned me that the local station that filled the coupon the last time didn’t seem to actually fill it. He hadn’t fussed with them but just accepted the bill. So warned, I headed into the gas station. I knew to use the coupon I had to chat with the attendant first. When I showed him my coupon he said, “Of course, just fill up your card here first and then pump the gas.” For some reason my intuitive brain couldn’t absorb his explanation. I had to give him my credit card, let him charge me $100.00 and then go outside and fill up my car. Oh, my brain got into a knot over that.

I did as he told me. I gave him $100 on my credit card and then filled up my car to cost of nearly $80.00. When the receipt came out it said that each litre had cost $1.44. Somehow that seemed just too expensive to me. I went back in and asked him about it. I pointed to the high cost of gas on my bill and asked about it being $.05 less. He gently looked at me and then pointed me to the sign over the driveway. The gas cost $1.49/litre. I had received the discount I was so intent on. I had saved the $2.00. He looked at me, gently smiled and said, “Life is too short.” Oh, that landed right in my heart. There was no condemnation. There was nothing but a lift out of the swamp of bargain pursuit, into the land of ease, presence and priority.

Life is short. How shall I spend it? Pursuing .05 savings or investing with others? Ah… how easy it can be for me to be derailed. How grateful I am for the gas attendant that pointed me back to the pathway of life-giving LIFE. A little while later when someone was angry with me I knew life was too short to stay in anger and could move easily into wishing them well.

How about you? Life IS short. What are you pursuing? How are you living?

If this is helpful to you, please share with a friend, so we can broaden the contemplative pathway. 

 

Love and prayers

Anne

 

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Rubik’s Cube: A Day in the Life of Anne

Do you remember those old puzzles that we used to twist and turn, trying to get all the colours lined up together?

One day this week my life felt all twisted out of shape. It was such an odd feeling. The basic emotions that paper my world of happiness and peace were painted over with confusion and uncertainty. I kept re-playing a conversation in my mind. I don’t usually do that anymore. Normally I live in a peaceful place with a quiet little fountain of joy gently bubbling inside me. All feels well in my world. But one day the fountain had stopped flowing. My insides felt twisted, all out of sorts. And a conversation kept asking to be re-played and re-played. So boring. I don’t like living like that at all!

I began to value how well I normally feel. I’m so grateful for that, and my gratitude hit a new level. But how would I get it back? How do I twist my life all around again so I’m back with my colours lined up?

A talk with myself about that nagging conversation was in order! Just what benefit was I receiving from re-working the conversation? I couldn’t find any benefit, yet it kept re-playing. So, time to bring something positive in to replace it, find some devotional reading, something short and punchy to twist my insides back into line. That’s a practice that usually works for me, but this week it was so hard to focus my thoughts. I sank back into re-playing. I wondered if an apology would alleviate the boring re-play. I could do that! I can usually say ‘I’m sorry’ and try to move things in a different direction.  Yet I wasn’t going to jump right into that response. I could…but was that the wisest response? Maybe my feelings weren’t mine at all. Maybe I was picking up someone else’s anxiety. I’ve known that emphatic response in the past. I feel awful but it’s not my ‘awful’ but someone else’s unfinished business. I know that is a call to prayer, to encircle the one I’m re-playing with kindness and gentleness. That was possible!

My twisted Rubik’s Cube day was drawing to an end. The final response was to ask for help. I guess I’d asked earlier, or sure hope I had! As I lay down to sleep, I released it one more time to The Most Loving Spirit There Is –“I’ll do an apology if you want. I’ll do whatever, just grant me some clarity in the morning please.”

Morning came and I could feel my internal cube had been twisted while I slept. As the day unfolded, I was no longer re-playing that conversation. Ah… some peace was returning. Interesting – later that day I received an email from my ‘conversation partner’ describing turmoil in her life. Sometimes the twists we feel do come not from our need for inner work but because we carry another’s burden.

That was one of my days this week. How has your week been? Are you at peace within your soul?

Love and prayers

Anne

If this is interesting to you, please show support by sharing it with a friend. Let’s broaden the contemplative pathway.

 

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

Spiritual Cataract Surgery: Re-writing My Story

 

Sometimes it’s like a veil is pulled back and I see things differently. Those are wonderful Epiphany Moments. What have they been like for you? Those moments when you see yourself, or a situation, or the world differently.

I was lying in bed last week in a small cabin in the woods. I’d told a group of people some of my story, a tiny bit of my sad childhood when I felt so alone in the world. Later that night, tucked into my cabin the Spirit gently and graciously pulled back the curtain and showed me a totally different view of my childhood. I was never alone. There was never a moment I was on my own or unloved. There was never an instant in which I was neglected. I was always cherished. Always.

Last week in my blog I shared my increasing awareness that we are one with God. Growing out of that awareness, I was able to grasp on an emotional level that I have never been alone. I am God’s child, one with God. I came from God and will return when I leave this world. There is a huge difference between intellectual understanding and emotional knowing. Epiphany Moments are about emotional knowing. They are life changing.

From that moment in my cabin I have re-written my childhood story. Yes, I may tell of some of the experiential emptiness, but it is no longer the whole story. Nor do I tell the story from that emotional standpoint. I’m so deeply grateful to our wonderful, loving God who graces me with moments of clarity. I no longer see my life through shadowy eyes. Hmmmm ….  Is this a spiritual cataract moment?

And what is true for me, I know is true for you …. You are God’s beloved child too. Always loved. Always.

When have you had such a moment? A time when you had a paradigm shift? Your eyes were opened, even for a flickering moment and you KNEW something. Everything changed and came together in a whole new way.

I’d love to hear your stories.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way” with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

 

Christmas Greetings

Today we celebrate the special gift of God to us here on earth in the arrival of Jesus. Welcome Jesus!

There was a day, a time, when he entered the world. Just like you and I did. He was born of his mother Mary. He knew life in her womb, the entry into this cold world. He knew separation from her, cold and hunger just as we all have known. One difference from us is that during his time on earth, he didn’t loose his awareness, his connection to God. He remained in contact with God, allowing the full presence of God’s Spirit to flow through him so we might know what God is like and know too, what humans can be like when they live in the fullness of their divine life.

He came to make us whole. That’s what the word ‘saved’ means. It means health and wholeness. That’s what he came to bring to us. Jesus gives to us the awareness of what humans are able to be, fully alive, fully connected to God. Being in touch with him, brings healing, health and wholeness into our lives. It’s not about a correct doctrine, or a specific spiritual experience. It is about being open to the Spirit of Jesus Christ today, now and always. He can still touch us, just like he touched lepers when he was physically alive. Sometimes his healing is physical, sometimes emotional and most often spiritual. Healing is his business.

Today we celebrate that God came to earth in the life of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for that. The life of Jesus has allowed me to see God in a completely different way – not removed, distant and judgmental, but close, caring and compassionate. God lives within me, within you and all of creation. The death of Jesus remains for me a sorrow touched with mystery. His resurrection assures me that he is still alive and powerful. I have experienced his presence many times, in many places and people.

Over the years I have recognized how much the external energy and trappings of Christmas have fed my seasonal feelings. Today I don’t have the parish life that gives me services to prepare. We’ve opted in our family not to give presents to each other but to gather to feast and enjoy one another. That has eliminated much of busyness of the season! It feels rather strange… yet I experience more clearly the birth of Jesus. Today is about him. I’m so grateful for his life.

May the peace and joy of Jesus be yours.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

‘Companion on the Way’ with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

Holy Waiting: Standing in The Light

 

We’ve passed December 21, the mark of the shortest day in our year. We don’t see it yet, but already we are tipping towards the light. Begin your reflection time by lighting four candles, yes four, and as you light each one, do it slowly and gently, pausing as you go: the Candle of Presence, the Candle of Your Light, the Candle of Hope. The fourth candle I name as Love. Let us sit in its presence for awhile.

Jesus’s clearest word to us, by both his life and his teaching, is that we are to love one another. We’re to love those close to us and those who are strangers, those people we naturally care about and those who are different from us, even those we brand as enemies. He challenges us to love beyond what is comfortable and warm, but to draw a wide circle, an inclusive circle, one that embraces all human beings. His circle was so wide that his dying breath was one of forgiveness to those who hurt him. As he used so many nature illustrations to teach us about God and ourselves, I’m very comfortable in extending his circle of care to all life on our planet, to our earth, galaxy and universe. We are to be Love.

I read a bit of Karen Armstrong this fall. This religious historian’s perspective is that you can discern a spiritual truth by whether it calls you to practical compassion. For all faiths, that is their bottom line. So…. as I sit with the Candle of Love, am I open to another being? Am I open to helping, to being helpful to another, to creation?…… In that I recognize my gross imperfections. There are many times when I’m not open. Perhaps I’m not comfortable with someone, their sufferings or their opinions. Or perhaps I’m not ready to change my lifestyle despite the harm it brings to the air I breathe or sea that feeds me. I begin by sitting in the presence of Love and allowing myself, warts and all to be loved.

Jesus is the Light of the World, a light no darkness can extinguish. I invite you to sit in his presence. At Christmas we remember how one day, he entered our world. Two thousand plus years later, at Christmas we are invited to know that his Spirit Light is within us, and now we are to enter the world bearing his care, his compassion and his love to a hurting world. But our mission isn’t to save the world. Our mission is to be authentic light-bearers in our own circumstances. Who around you, needs you to be slow, to be gentle, to be a light in their world?

I invite you sit quietly in the presence of Love. When you are ready, stand up and stand in the presence of Love. Just stand for a few breaths. When you are ready step out into the world, knowing you carry the Light of Christ with you. He is here!

Of course, you’ll go back to extinguish those candles!!

Celebrate! God is with us! Love wins!

Spring will return!

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion, “Companion on the Way” with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

Lessons from Children

First it was my grand puppy and then the grandchildren. I have found animals and children to be some of my best spiritual teachers. Have you? What lessons have you learnt?

Last week as the grandchildren visited us, I was so aware of their relationship with their father. He is a quiet, thoughtful and attentive man, a primary school teacher by training and a caring father. The children are very secure with him. They can ask him anything and they listen to him, at least most of the time! They know they are loved by him and safe in the world. They are visiting us in a new home, a new location and are content, curious about what is around them, but content.

The same week they were visiting, in my meditation time I was invited to ponder both the phrase and the reality that I am a child of God. Repeatedly I held that phrase, that reality within my mind and my heart. I’m very grateful that I know I’m loved by God. I know that deep down within my soul. It was what makes everything all right for me. Because I feel secure in God’s love, I can move across the country and open myself to a new life. Because I feel secure in God’s love, I was able to say, ‘I think I have a calling to priesthood’, despite the world around me not affirming women in leadership. Because I feel secure in God’s love, I was able to work in environments that weren’t supportive to my perspective. Because I feel secure in God’s love, I can move towards forgiveness when I’m ignored, snubbed or ridiculed.

But it wasn’t always that way. I didn’t grow up in a home where I felt safe and content. I grew up frightened and hiding. I didn’t have a relationship with my father or mother where I could ask questions, where I could explore new ways. My childhood experience was radically different than my grandchildren’s. I’m so grateful that theirs is different!

I know that I’m not alone in my experience. Many of us grow up troubled and then we’re told ‘we’re children of God’. That’s not such a good thing when our childhood memory is troublesome. I’m grateful that I was able to make that transition from a frightened little girl to a mature and secure woman, one who knows she is a Child of God, who knows that her father is generous, compassionate and kind. Being with my grandchildren helped me deepen my child-like trust of God. They really are ‘grand’!

We are Children of God. Everyone of us. Everyone of us. And our Father is good, all the time.

 

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)